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Euro 2012: Asian England Football Fans Speak About Racism In Ukraine

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Asian England football fans in Ukraine have spoken about the pressure put on them by family and friends not to travel to Euro 2012 over fears of racism.

Rikesh Solanki and his friend Amal Samji, both 23 and from south London, ignored the warnings and went ahead with their plans to watch England against France in Donetsk.

Former England international Sol Campbell warned supporters to avoid the event after BBC Panorama filmed fans in Ukraine giving Nazi salutes and taunting black players with monkey noises.

At an open training session in Krakow, Poland on Wednesday, Dutch players were subjected to monkey chants with Holland captain Mark van Bommel branding the incident "a real disgrace".

Mr Solanki and Mr Samji, whose families are of Indian origin, were both advised to cancel their trip after Panorama was broadcast.

Mr Samji, from Streatham, said: "I sat down and watched it, my family even watched it and were quite concerned.

"My mum wanted to pay for my ticket, she said 'I'll cover your costs just so you don't go'.

"But I reassured her it should be okay. If we see any trouble we won't hesitate taking the next flight home."

He added: "I remember talking to my dad and saying 'does this stuff still go on?'. There are so many ethnic players playing now."

Mr Solanki, from Croydon, added: "I had friends who said 'are you sure you're going to go? If it was me I'd sell my ticket'."

The Arsenal fans, who both work as brokers in the City of London, described their relief at what they found on arrival in Ukraine.

"I'm loving the city. It's clean, great weather and friendly people," Mr Solanki said.

Mr Samji commented: "It's been great so far, we haven't had any problems or anything like that. Fingers crossed it stays like that for the whole time."